2018 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 11 - Civil Practice Act
Article 2 - Commencement of Action and Service
§ 9-11-4.1. Certified process servers
(a) Certified process servers. A person at least 18 years of age who files with a sheriff of any county of this state an application stating that the movant complies with this Code section and any procedures and requirements set forth in any rules or regulations promulgated by the Judicial Council of Georgia regarding this Code section shall, absent good cause shown, be certified as a process server. Such certification shall be effective for a period of three years or until such approval is withdrawn by a superior court judge upon good cause shown, whichever shall first occur. Such certified process server shall be entitled to serve in such capacity for any court of the state, anywhere within the state, provided that the sheriff of the county for which process is to be served allows such servers to serve process in such county.
(b) Certification procedures.
(1) Any person seeking certification under this Code section shall upon applying for certification present evidence that he or she:
(A) Has undergone a criminal record check based on fingerprints and has never been convicted of a felony or of impersonating a peace officer or other public officer or employee under Code Section 16-10-23;
(B) Completed a 12 hour course of instruction relating to service of process which course has been approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts in consultation with the Georgia Sheriffs' Association;
(C) Passed a test approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts which will measure the applicant's knowledge of state law regarding serving of process and other papers on various entities and persons;
(D) Obtained a commercial surety bond or policy of commercial insurance conditioned to protect members of the public and persons employing the certified process server against any damage arising from any actionable misconduct, error, or omission on the part of the applicant while serving as a certified process server; and
(E) Is a citizen of the United States.
(2) A sheriff of any county of this state shall review the application, test score, criminal record check, and such other information or documentation as required by that sheriff and determine whether the applicant shall be approved for certification and authorized to act as a process server in this state.
(3) Upon approval the applicant shall complete a written oath as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will conduct myself as a process server truly and honestly, justly and uprightly, and according to law; and that I will support the Constitution of the State of Georgia and the Constitution of the United States. I further swear (or affirm) that I will not serve any papers or process in any action where I have a financial or personal interest in the outcome of the matter or where any person to whom I am related by blood or marriage has such an interest."
(c) Renewal and revocation of certification. A certified process server shall be required to renew his or her certification every three years. Any certified process server failing to renew his or her certification shall no longer be approved to serve as a certified process server. At the time of renewal, the certified process server shall provide evidence that he or she has completed three annual five-hour courses of continuing education which courses have been approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts and has undergone an updated criminal record check. The certification of a process server may be revoked or suspended by a superior court judge for cause at any time. If a complaint has been filed by a sheriff alleging serious misconduct by the process server, such judge may suspend the certification for up to five business days while the matter is considered by the judge.
(d) Fees. The sheriff shall collect a fee of $80.00 for processing the application required by this Code section.
(e) Registry. The sheriff shall forward $30.00 of each fee received to the Georgia Sheriffs' Association. The Georgia Sheriffs' Association shall maintain a registry of certified process servers.
(f) Service by off-duty deputy sheriff. An off-duty deputy sheriff may serve process with the approval of the sheriff by whom he or she is employed and shall be exempt from certification under this Code section.
(g) Impersonation of public officer or employee. It shall be unlawful for a certified process server to falsely hold himself or herself out as a peace officer or public officer or employee and any violation shall be punished as provided in Code Section 16-10-23.
(h) Notice to sheriff.
(1) Prior to the first time that a certified process server serves process in any county, he or she shall file with the sheriff of the county a written notice, in such form as shall be prescribed by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, of his or her intent to serve process in that county. Such notice shall only be accepted by a sheriff who allows certified process servers to serve process in his or her county. Such notice shall be effective for a period of one year; and a new notice shall be filed before the certified process server again serves process in that county after expiration of the one-year period.
(2) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a certified process server who was appointed by the court to serve process or who was appointed as a permanent process server by a court.
(i) Credentials. A sheriff of any county of this state shall at the time of certification provide credentials in the form of an identification card to each certified process server. The identification card shall be designed to clearly distinguish it from any form of credentials issued to certified peace officers and will not be in the shape or form of a law enforcement badge. A certified process server shall display his or her credentials at all times while engaged in the service of process.
(j) False representation. It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a certified process server to hold himself or herself out as being a certified process server. Any person who violates this subsection shall upon conviction be guilty of a misdemeanor.